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Scottish Retail Consortium

Scottish retail figures on the up after disappointing summer

Figures released by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) found that retail sales improved through Scotland in August after a tough summer.

Total sales grew by 1.3% in August after deflation adjustment, which was up on the three and 12 month averages. Food sales boosted total sales with an increase of 4.1%, compared to a decrease of 0.3% in August 2016.

There was a decline of 1.5% of total non-food sales through August; however this was offset when compared to a decrease of 3.7% in August 2016.

Speaking about the figures, Ewan MacDonald-Russell, head of policy and external affairs for SRC said that the figures were good news “on the surface,” but warned that the year-on-year food sales was driven in part by food inflation of 1.3%.

“Retailers will welcome these figures after a pretty disappointing summer,” added Russell.

“However, the underlying challenges facing the industry, not least the continued pressure on household incomes and fragile consumer confidence, mean Government should be very careful about any policies which could lead to increases to the cost of living.”

Craig Cavin, head of retail in Scotland for KPMG, commented: “Grocery sales lead the charge once again, with a 4.1% year on year increase bringing the 12-month average to its highest level for more than three years.

“With August bringing children’s return to school, the Edinburgh Festival and the release of autumn clothing ranges, non-food’s recent poor performance received a late summer boost, with online sales nudging the category into growth.”


SRC: Scottish retail facing 10-year crisis

New research by the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) has revealed that more than 4,000 Scottish retailers could be forced to close their doors within 10 years.

The report, entitled ‘What’s Next – The Future of Scottish Retail’, claims that almost a quarter of Scottish retail premises could go out of business by 2025, particularly those in small towns and rural locations, resulting in tens of thousands of people losing their jobs.

Technological changes and the rising costs of being a small business owner are blamed as the cause for the concern.

The SRC warned the rise of online retail would not lead to job creation in Scotland, with most such staff based in the southeast of England and company headquarters.

The Scottish retail sector currently employs around 250,000 people.

The SRC has called on the Scottish government to discuss new strategies for businesses north of the border and to prevent town centres from being “hollowed out.”

In an interview with The Times, Andrew Murphy, chairman of the SRC, explained the situation: “If we care about employment and we care about places we simply have to deal with this issue. The dynamics of change cannot be stopped or reversed. It is only how well we collectively understand and manage it.”

Murphy added: “This is something much more profound and bigger than any one retailer. We can’t be abliavent to the fates of the Stirlings, the Falkirks, the Kirkcaldys, the Glenrothes and the Arbroaths. We still have time and have a chance to think ahead and to make sure the real sharp end of that decline is managed and mitigated.”

Scotland’s economy has shrunk in the last three months of the year, which means the country is now officially in a recession.